Jump to content

164- Quant, 168- Verbal, looking to get into top 10 Chemistry programs- is this viable?


Recommended Posts

I've been getting a little scared over my GRE scores, they're lower than what I expected. My quant score is especially disappointing- I expected a near-full score on the basis of both practice and the fact that I was reasonably confident in the exam itself. I don't want to retake because of how expensive it is for me, but I really am aiming for top-10. Specifically aiming for Stanford and Columbia U, but others too. Do you think it is a satisfactory score, or will the Quant score affect my application badly?

 

Thanks

P.S. Foreign student!

 
Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Quantum Buckyball said, the GRE scores are typically one of the least important aspects of your application. Other aspects, in particular, research experience, LORs and publication record are the most important parts of your application, followed by SOP, GPA and possibly cGRE if you have less research experience. Your GRE scores are actually quite good, in particular your verbal score, and will not hold you back from top 10 schools. You will need to have quality research experience and great LORs to get into a high quality school. Basically, the GRE is part of the checklist for your application. A good score will not guarantee entry to an institution, but a low score may keep you out. That being said, your scores are high to very high (keep in mind that the percentile is not how well you scored, but how well you scored relative to everyone else taking the test: i.e. a 97 %ile means you scored better than all but 3% of applicants).

Link to post
Share on other sites

My scores are slightly lower than yours, 168Q, 162V and all of my professors have told me that these are great scores that will look great on my applications.

 

GRE scores seemed to be used as a weed out and arent really looked at beyond that. As long as you are above 155ish for V and in the mid to high 160s for Q then you will be fine. Your research experience, letters of recommendations, and passion/knowedge of your subfield demonstrated through your SOP will get you into programs, not GRE scores.

 

Also, why only top 10 programs? I am sure there are schools in the 20-30 range with great professors in your subfield. Rememeber that a school's reputation for your SPECIFIC research area and advisor name matter a lot more than than prestige of the school/department as a whole. If you go to a top 5 school that doesn't have many strong professors in your subfield then you will probably struggle for a job a lot more than someone who went to a top 30 school and worked with a top researcher.

Edited by bsharpe269
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think bsharpe hit on the best question. I know everyone loves the prestige that comes from a top 10 school (and the financial resources), but as an international student, you might want to broaden your net. I say this because most schools take very few international students. And I'm not gonna repeat the biggest reason you should broaden your net cause bsharpe already said it.

Identify your sub field and find the professors who are strong (publishing papers, getting grants, etc).

Also, your GRE scores are great.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your replies!

First- I'd like to clarify bsharpe and geographyrocks's points- I mentioned top 10 mainly because Columbia U and Stanford are two schools I would LOVE to go to on the basis of my interests. I'm not going to deny that "the prestige" was irrelevant to me while saying "top 10", but my primary reasons remain that these two schools are dream schools for me because of professors working there- in fact in particular stanford.

 

QuantumBuckyball and Marcus- I am aware that GRE is only one part of my app, and I also know that it is a %ile system. I am just worried that 164 doesn't make the cut (and on a %ile range it is 88th- which is LOW!). I also know that this was definitely not my best (or average) math performance. I still can't get my head around it, really.

 

I know my verbal score is good- I'm just scared that my quant doesn't make the cut. As bsharpe said: "mid to high 160's"- I don't know if 164 works!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your replies!

First- I'd like to clarify bsharpe and geographyrocks's points- I mentioned top 10 mainly because Columbia U and Stanford are two schools I would LOVE to go to on the basis of my interests. I'm not going to deny that "the prestige" was irrelevant to me while saying "top 10", but my primary reasons remain that these two schools are dream schools for me because of professors working there- in fact in particular stanford.

 

QuantumBuckyball and Marcus- I am aware that GRE is only one part of my app, and I also know that it is a %ile system. I am just worried that 164 doesn't make the cut (and on a %ile range it is 88th- which is LOW!). I also know that this was definitely not my best (or average) math performance. I still can't get my head around it, really.

 

I know my verbal score is good- I'm just scared that my quant doesn't make the cut. As bsharpe said: "mid to high 160's"- I don't know if 164 works!

 

If you are that nervous about it then you can take it again, but I'm applying to biophysics programs which are of course very math heavy and if I had those score then I would save my money and not retake. If you have bad grades in your math and physics courses and need to prove your quant skills then I might change my opinion but if you have good grades in those classes then your quant score will be absolutely great.

Link to post
Share on other sites

bsharpe- Yep I am trying to draw the same balance, between how expensive it is and how much of a difference it would make. I have reasonable math scores and average physics scores- we're graded on a relative scale at our institute and in every math/phy course I have taken, I have had the company of physics/electrical engineering students, which really doesn't work out well for me. And btw- I will also be applying for (theoretical) biophysics programs!

Edited by epinephrine
Link to post
Share on other sites

Save your money. The GRE Quant is a bunch of high school level math / pre-Calculus algebra. Your actual mathematical ability in your field of work is much more important and easily demonstrated by your grades in these courses. I really doubt the admissions committee will be worried that you are "only" in the 88th percentile of all GRE Q takers because the GRE Q does not actually test any mathematical ability relevant to a graduate degree in the sciences, in my opinion. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In what world is 88th percentile low? The thing to remember is at that level you are a few points from perfect. That kind of score is not going to keep you out of any program.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Seriously, Im with Vene above. A score in the 88th percentile is freakin awesome. The math on the GRE, as you know, isnt even close to the type of math that you, or anyone is chemistry really, has been studying. It is a logic test, and the math is almost entirely logic based, with some basic algebra. If I receieved an 88 I would literally do a high kick out of sheer joy in the class room. This isnt a test that determines if you are good at math or not (and everyone knows it), it just interpets (I use that work very loosely) the way you think about things. If you think that an 88 will keep you out of a top program, well then what the hell will get in you; a 95, something almost unattainable. Save your money and go buy yourself a nice bottle of liquor, you deserve it. If I could add one more thing, I wouldnt focus on the GRE anymore. I would focus on my LOR's and my SOP. Sound like a human, not like a perfect robot. Display your passion for chemistry and make yourself come across as down to earth and eager. You might get to these schools and realize everyone is a tool and focus on things like the difference between an 88 or a 95. Have fun with it, you live once. The difference in a #6 school and a #26 is all relative, and if anyone says different they can shove it. In 40 years you wont care where you went, you will just have the memorys from it. As students we spend so much time waiting for this period in our life that we forget to have fun and enjoy it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.